Shane Richie has described EastEnders newcomer David Essex as an ‘underrated’ acting talent.

The 1970s heartthrob is set to join the soap as Eddie Moon, father of new character Michael and uncle to Shane’s character Alfie.

Speaking from the red carpet at the National Television Awards, Shane said: “He’s a wonderful actor, but quite underrated as an actor, so this is where people can see his talent.”

David, who enjoyed pop success with a string of self-penned hits including Hold Me Close, is an east Londoner and is fitting his stint on Albert Square around touring commitments.

Eddie’s arrival on the soap is set to usher in a new era for the Moon family, with more characters on the way.

Richie revealed: “They are bringing in a couple of cousins and nephews, too. They’re going to make the Moon family that much bigger.”

Shane also spoke to Whatsontv with Jessie Wallace about the controversial baby swap plot – watch the video here.